Step 1: Permission. Most of us believe, in the back of or minds, that we shouldn’t be eating what we are eating, but we eat it anyway.
Think of a toddler. Now imagine that an adult tells this toddler that they can’t play with a particular red truck. What happens? They want to play with the truck! Nothing compares to that truck, simply because she was told she wasn’t allowed to play with it.
We do the exact same thing with food. When we tell ourselves, over and over and over again, that we aren’t supposed to eat it, it creates an even STRONGER desire for that food.
Then, we when do “give in” and eat it, we tend to over-do it and gulp it down without tasting or enjoying it because it feels like it may be the last time we get to have it.
This is why it’s essential to pause and give yourself permission to eat before eating. It allows you to release the guilt and focus on what the food actually tastes like and eat in a controlled way.
Here’s how you do it: Say to yourself (out-loud or in your mind), “I give myself permission to eat, enjoy, and savor every bite of this food.”
It’s OK if you feel like you’re lying to yourself. Do it anyway! It will still make a difference. You may even discover that after you’ve given yourself permission, you don’t even really WANT the food.
Step 2: Ask yourself what you really want. It’s easy to assume that we will ALWAYS want candy, cookies, or chips, but do you ever stop to ask yourself first? You may be surprised! Ask yourself, “If I could have any food right now, what would it be?” Eating what you WANT allows you to feel satisfied and stop eating without feeling deprived.
Step 3: Savor your food. Gobbling down your food is a sure-fire way to want more and more and more. The faster you eat, the less pleasure you get out of the experience.
For example, imagine that you go to a movie but you spend half of it out in the hallway on the phone. If you miss that much of it, you’re going to want to watch it again because you didn’t get to experience it the first time!
It’s the same way with food. If you don’t get to taste each bite the first time around, you want to eat again. Eliminate distractions, slow down, and you will be able to eat 2 cookies instead of 10 or 5 chips instead of the whole bag. Give it a try!